So much of our lives are intertwined with technology, yet it is often difficult to ascertain the true ownership of digital assets.

In the case of re Scandalios (2017-2976/A N.Y. Surr. Ct. 2019), Apple have been ordered to allow a grieving husband access to his deceased husband’s Apple account.

When Ric Swezey passed away, he had not considered his digital presence when making his Will, and did not authorise his husband to have access to it. This inadvertently restricted his husband’s access to photographs of their life together.

The potentially landmark ruling split digital assets between what it considers electronic communication and non-electronic communication. Electronic communication would only be legally passed on to executor’s through the permission of the deceased through a legitimate Will.

The court found that photographs on the other hand are not a form of communication. They were taken and stored using the ease of which the technology allows. The photographs were therefore released by the court.

Although this case refers to US Law it will be interesting to see if cases like these will make it easier to access digital assets in the future, and whether rulings in England and Wales will follow suit.